Very Private Plot

Overview

In his latest installment in the Blackford Oakes series William F. Buckley, Jr., continues to astonish and delight. The year is 1995, and an energetic senator wants to disarm, perhaps even eliminate, the CIA. To accumulate the evidence necessary to persuade the Senate, he needs the cooperation of Blackford Oakes, now retired. He wants from Oakes an account of his covert activity ten years earlier, when Oakes served as chief of covert activities for the CIA. One such activity, as sensitive a secret as any member ...

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Overview

In his latest installment in the Blackford Oakes series William F. Buckley, Jr., continues to astonish and delight. The year is 1995, and an energetic senator wants to disarm, perhaps even eliminate, the CIA. To accumulate the evidence necessary to persuade the Senate, he needs the cooperation of Blackford Oakes, now retired. He wants from Oakes an account of his covert activity ten years earlier, when Oakes served as chief of covert activities for the CIA. One such activity, as sensitive a secret as any member of the government ever husbanded, had to do with a plot by young veterans of the Soviet war against Afghanistan to assassinate the man who had just assumed the reins of government in Moscow: Mikhail Gorbachev. President Reagan was in the White House in 1985. What was his reaction when apprised of a plot by non-Americans to assassinate a man commonly acknowledged as a tyrant? What will the frustrated senator do to compel cooperation from Blackford Oakes? A Very Private Plot takes the reader inside the Kremlin, exhibiting a detailed knowledge and savoir faire characteristic of the author. And inside the Reagan White House, known well to the author, and inside the Clinton White House as well. The forces unleashed in 1985 threaten any resolution between the United States and the Soviet Union and threaten the lives of a very small unit of young Russians who remain in the memory as the tale reaches a climax. A Very Private Plot caps the ten novels that began when, at age twenty-four, Blackford Oakes was seduced by the Queen of England, launching him and American readers on travels unrivaled in cold war fiction for wit and imagination.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Smooth and skillful, but only mildly suspenseful, the 10th Blackford Oakes adventure brings the Cold War hero into the age of glasnost and beyond. The year is 1995. Senator Hugh Blanton, who is framing a bill that would effectively ban all covert intelligence activity, subpoenas the retired Oakes to give evidence about Cyclops, a Reagan-era CIA operation that supposedly nearly drove Gorbachev to start a nuclear war. Interspersed with the narrative of Oakes's adamant refusal to testify is the true story behind Cyclops, which involves Oakes's discovery in the mid-80s that a group of young Russian patriots plan to assassinate Gorbachev. He informs Reagan of the plot, creating interesting moral dilemmas for both men: Should the president warn the head of an enemy state? Given an order with which he disagrees, does Oakes obey, or remain loyal to his Agency contacts? Urbanely written, the novel has enough information about Oakes's past to satisfy newcomers to the series and plenty of Beltway subculture references (including an appearance by Buckley himself). The plotting is strong, the story interesting and enjoyable, but Buckley raises complex ethical issues only to skate over them. A little more depth would have made this genial novel truly compelling. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
In the best Blackford Oakes novel yet (Tucker's Last Stand, 1991, etc.), the master of the double bind builds a plot that places the CIA chief of covert ops squarely between the Maelstrom and the Wandering Rocks. Buckley dips into Black's college days, his marriage to Sally following her widowhood, with glances into the days with Kennedy and Johnson. Now, in 1995, as covert ops honcho, he's called before the Senate to defend his affair with "Cyclops"—and refuses, risking jail instead. While President Clinton schemes to save covert ops from the Senate, we are told that sometime during the Reagan Administration—about 1985—before Gorbachev led the USSR into dissolution, Black was contacted by his old Russian buddy and adversary, Cyclops (now 85), and given knowledge that could be entrusted to Black alone: only two people, Cyclops and Black, could know that a tiny knot of very young, hotblooded, idealistic Russian dissidents, modeling themselves on the original 19-century Narodniki whose fiery-minded assassinations inspired Lenin's boldest moves, have taken it upon themselves to assassinate Gorbachev. Buckley has huge fun drawing these youths, their backgrounds, education, and military service (as did Dostoyevsky in drawing his Narodniki in The Devils) and his mastery of the Russian terrain and mentality takes on tremendously entertaining firmness. Black goes to Reagan for a one-on-one confab that must not go out of the Oval Office. Should he turn his buddy Cyclops and the Narodniki over to the KGB? Ronnie stalls, It's not our business. Then he meets Gorbachev at Reykjavik, likes him, and tells Black the Narodniki must go. Heavy-hearted Black takes off for Moscow as theassassins fail at a first attempt and mount a second. His mission: death to the Narodniki.... Top-drawer storytelling, as Blackford scrabbles for his soul.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781581824773
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 11/16/2005
  • Series: Blackford Oakes Novel Series
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 974,546
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

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